Bullying and Harassment

If you’re pretty sure that someone is being mean or hurtful to you on purpose, here are some steps you can take to deal with it:

  • Tell someone: your parents, a trusted adult; a friend to help you decide how to handle it
  • Don’t fight back. This is probably what they want you to do, and could make things a lot more complicated if you decide to report what’s happened. Don’t get your friends to fight back for you either – that can make things a lot worse.
  • Remind yourself that it’s not your fault.
  • Remember that nothing anyone does makes it okay for you to be mean and cruel to them.
  • Get evidence. Take a screenshot (see https://www.take-a-screenshot.org/ for how to do that on different platforms and devices) and make a record of when it happened, who did it, and anything else you know that might be relevant.
  • Mute them. You can use the Mute User function to keep someone from sending you an inbox message, write on your profile’s message board, or leave comments on your stories. (You won’t be able to do any of those things to them, either, and they’ll still be able to view your profile and read and vote on your stories.)
  • Report them. Harassment and bullying are against the Code of Conduct and can be reported to Wattpad. If someone threatened you with violence, made you afraid for your safety, or said they’ll do something that would hurt or humiliate you, you may also want to report it to police. See the MediaSmarts article Cyberbullying and the Law for more information on your legal options.
  • Reach out to friends, family or other people who can help you deal with how you’re feeling. Talking about bad things that have happened to us is an important part of dealing with them. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone that you know, organizations like HeartMob can provide support. For more serious issues, check out this list of helplines to find one in your country.

If you see someone else being harassed or bullied, there are ways that you can help. In fact, people who’ve been bullied say that what witnesses do is a big part of how much it hurts and how quickly they get over it.

Here are some things you can do that will help:

  • Talk privately to the person who’s being bullied. One of the worst things about being bullied is feeling like nobody cares about what’s happening. Tell them that you don’t agree with what happened and that you’re there to help if they need you.
  • Post something nice about the person who’s being bullied. (Make sure to check with them first to make sure it’s okay.) Be positive! What you post doesn’t even have to be about what’s happened, just say something good about them to show you’re not on the bully’s side.
  • Boost good community values. If you want to say something directly to the bully, don’t make it personal: just tell them that what they’re doing makes the site less fun for everyone. Check out the Wattpad Empathy Project to learn more!

If you want help deciding which of these is best for you, check out MediaSmarts’ tool Impact: How to Make a Difference When You Witness Bullying Online.